Saturday, June 26, 2010

Broken horn

Yesterday had a challenging day. One of my patients, a 2 year old white rhinoceroses, was looking wobbly and lethargic. I have been treating her already for 3 weeks, because of a broken horn. She had been improving well, but now she suddenly was going down hill. I had to give her some treatments as soon as possible. A wild animal always tries to hide any weaknesses, so when they start to show any clinical symptoms, it's always an emergency.
The darting was challenging as her companion, a 3 year old bull, kept on running and she followed him everywhere. Also, he run into my direction once; luckily I can run! Therefore had to approach them 'walking as a soldier', not making any noise and standing still when they looked into my direction. Always really enjoy this part of the job. Finally I could shoot her into her left shoulder. After 6 minutes she was deep enough asleep to chase away the bull, while she stayed behind. That can be quite dangerous, but he left after we made noise and threw some branches. Then I approached her from behind and put a blindfold over her eyes and ear plugs into her ears. Then she went down and her anaesthetics were surprisingly nice and steady for a whole hour. I was able to give her plenty of IV fluids (15L) through 3 different lines, antibiotics and anti-inflammation. We also washed the wounds which were healing well and put antibiotics cream on it. I also felt that the horn was healing well. At the end of the procedure, I noticed her ears moving, a clear sign that she was getting very light. I did not wanna top up the drugs, because she had been sleeping for over an hour. Decided to wake her up. First I removed all catheters, then I gave the antidiote IV and then I removed the earplugs and blindfold. She took off immediately, clearly feeling much better! Let's keep our fingers crossed that she's going to be okay.

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